The Wall That Heals comes to Sayre

Sayre Area School District  |  Posted on

Top left – Sayre student visiting the Wall; top right – Seth Gorsline, SHS senior, playing taps; bottom – Crimson Blues directed by Mrs. Karlie Vaughn singing the National Anthem

Every year, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund selects 29 communities to visit and display The Wall That Heals, a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and this year, the borough of Sayre, nestled in the hills of northeastern Pennsylvania, was one of the selected cities. Brought to the community by the diligent work of co-chairs of the Penn-York Committee, Mrs. Suzanne Jarrett and Mr. Robert Flick, this tour provided community members with a chance to experience this historical memorial in their hometown. It also afforded the students and staff in Sayre Area School District opportunities to learn, explore, and contribute to the experience for their school and the community as a whole for the duration of the tour in their small town.

Prior to the arrival of The Wall That Heals to Sayre Borough, Jarrett sought the help of teachers and students from Sayre Area School District to enhance visitors’ experiences when visiting the memorial display at the community’s Riverfront Park. Per the request of and fully funded by the Penn-York Committee, Industrial Arts and Technology teacher Mr. Jack Waldenberger worked with his Woodshop II students to design, construct and paint four benches to be used by memorial visitors during the tour in Sayre.

Jarrett also sought the expertise of Sayre High School’s music department to participate in the nightly ceremonies at the Wall. On the evening of its arrival and set-up, K-12 music and band director Mr. Cameron King played taps in honor of the men and women whose names are included on the memorial wall. The next evening, at the start of the official opening ceremony, K-12 music and vocal teacher Mrs. Karlie Vaughn led Sayre High’s elite choral assembly, Crimson Blues, as they sang the National Anthem. This performance was followed by the playing of taps by Sayre High’s senior drum major, Seth Gorsline.

In addition to those that contributed to the memorial’s experience, Sayre Area School District students and staff also took advantage of having such an amazing learning opportunity in their community. Students in grades 5, 6, 11 and 12 visited the display with their teachers and were given informational tours led by VVMF guides, many of whom provide tours for visitors at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (VVM) in Washington, D.C. Many of the students were so moved by their time at the memorial that they returned to the display, bringing family members and friends with them to experience the Wall and all that it represents for our country, their small community, and the families of the 27 service members included on the memorial that came from their town and surrounding areas.